If you recall, which you probably don’t as we hockey nut jobs tend to do terrible, terrible things to our bodies on a semi-regular regular basis (read: 82/yr) that make the memory not work so good sometimes, that about 2 weeks ago I told you why Doughty and Johnson are a terrible even-strength pairing. In that article, I said:
“If there is a place to pair them together, it is the powerplay.
- Yet we almost never see it except by accident. The PP pairings have consistently been Stoll-Doughty and Johnson-Martinez.
- If the point of the Doughty-Johnson pairing is to generate offense, and the powerplay is purely about offense, whereas 5-on-5 is also about defense, AND we have already established that both of their defensive games suffer when paired together, what the hell is the logic between pairing them together at even strength but not on the powerplay?
- Answer: There isn’t any. Its fucking insane.”
Last night against the Edmonton Oilers (and to a lesser extent towards the end of the game against the Wild), Coach Terry Murray got the memo.
Doughty and Johnson both had two powerplay assists (and Ryan Smyth two PP goals), each coming off similar plays where Johnson passed from the top of the point to the left where Doughty quickly ripped off shots that blasted by the old and confused Nikolai Khabibulin, ever so softly massaged into perfect direction by the stick of Smyth. (**UPDATE** – Ofcourse right after I write this, the scoring gets changed so that Doughty is now credited with both goals. The following word applies ever more forcefully now, and, in fact, now requires the addition of a ‘huzzah!’)
After the game, Johnson and Doughty had the following to say to Rich Hammond at LA Kings Insider.
(on his power-play partnership with Drew Doughty…)
JOHNSON: “He and I really enjoy playing with each other. We’re just kind of reading and reacting, and we have fun doing it. So whatever the coaches decide is best, but I know Drew and I have a lot of fun playing with each other.”
(on the power-play success with him and Jack Johnson…)
DOUGHTY: “Me and Jack have wanted to play together for a little while here. We’ve been on separate PP units, and they finally put us together tonight and you saw what we can do together. Hopefully we can continue to produce like that.”
You all know by now that I enjoy reading the words that aren’t written in quotes.
These two juicy little quotes, besides stroking my already saturated ego, contain fun little jabs at a question we have been asking for oh, what is it… 2 and a half years now.
Why is Terry Murray two steps behind? Why does he stubbornly refuse to do things every Kings’ fan knows to be for the best?
Let’s take a more penetrating look at these player quotes.
(Johnson) “So whatever the coaches decide is best, but I know Drew and I have a lot of fun playing with each other.”
So whatever the coach decides is best. We call this towing the company line. But…. ah there it is, BUT! Johnson isn’t stupid enough to say “but I know he’s been wrong in not pairing us together on the PP”. He doesn’t need to, the results say that loud and clear for him. Subtle, still classy, but in plainer terms “Hey Terry, what you says goes and what you’ve been saying has sucked, so keep saying ‘Jack & Drew on the PP!’”
On to Doughty.
“Me and Jack have wanted to play together for a little while here. We’ve been on separate PP units, and they finally put us together tonight and you saw what we can do together. Hopefully we can continue to produce like that.”
So they’ve been asking for it. Either explicitly or not, these guys have been sitting around scratching their heads asking themselves “I know that Jack and I kick major ass on the PP together, and I know the PP has sucked lately, so why the hell don’t I play with Jack on the PP?” Doughty’s quote is more specific in its reproach of the coaches head-scratching decisions. To twist the words of another once again into something more palatable to what I feel to be the truth, “Hopefully we can continue to produce like that SO LONG AS WE ARE KEPT TOGETHER ON THE MUTHA-FONKIN’ POWERPLAY!”
Do Jack and Drew dislike Terry Murray? Who the hell knows. Probably not, father… er… grandfather figure that he is, I’m willing to bet they like their coach. However while sometimes we must indict those that make the decisions, others we must praise them.
So though I rag and jeer and rant on Terry, I must conclude by saying thanks. Though I fear he will look back on last night’s game and see nothing more than the system working for once instead of the palpable chemistry of the double D and the dual J, nonetheless, thanks Coach Muray. Thank you for doing what we have wanted you to do for so long and put two of the most outstanding and exciting young defenseman in the entire game of hockey on the same power play ice.
KEEP IT UP!